GRASSROOTS sport across the region has benefited from multi-million pound funding over the past decade to the benefit of young sports stars.
The Football Foundation has released new research which illustrates the impact of its work in partnership with the Northumberland County FA over the last ten years.
Since the foundation was set up in 2000 it has worked closely with the Northumberland FA to support 132 projects across the affiliation with grants worth £11.3m.
And these grants have attracted further partnership funding of £11.9m into the area’s sporting grassroots.
So far the investment from the organisation has provided a lasting legacy of:
n 25 new pitches – real and artificial;
n 27 new changing pavilions;
n 26 Grow the Game grants towards club development;
n 54 new, safe goal posts
n 5,205 free junior football kits.
Recently, the foundation gave a grant of £472,000 to the East Palmersville Sports Pavilion in North Tyneside to help with the redevelopment of six changing rooms, two officials rooms, a first aid room, multi-purpose activity hall, meeting room, kitchen and storage facilities.
Externally, there is a new 40-space car park, floodlit multi-use games area (MUGA) with third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch and improved drainage for one of the grass football pitches.
It will be used by Forest Hall Young People’s Club, which includes Forest Hall Juniors FC and Forest Hall Boxing Club, as well as other community groups.
The new state-of-the-art facility will encourage participation in football, enabling communities to become more active.
It will also involve local clubs, schools, colleges and other community organisations, who will feel the numerous benefits for many years to come.
Alan Wright, president of the Northumberland FA, said: “I would like to place on record my sincerest thanks to the Football Foundation for its continued support.
“The Northumberland FA shares a fantastic working relationship with the Football Foundation; together our work is helping to provide the people of Northumberland with first class provisions for sport.
“Invariably the focus is on upper levels of the game; therefore, the support of the Football Foundation has made a huge difference in conveying to the wider public the good work that is going on at the grass roots level of the game.
“Perhaps more importantly it also helps us to let schools and clubs across the borough know about the funding opportunities that are available.”
Prior to the establishment of the Football Foundation in 2000 there was a recognised under investment in football facilities.
Subsequently, a determination emerged to rebuild the country’s dilapidated community football facilities.
After more than a decade of foundation investment, monitoring and evaluation evidence demonstrates that participation on sites that are enhanced with foundation funding increases by an average of 50 per cent when they open, and by a further 25 per cent over the following four years.
Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the organisation, said: “The Football Foundation’s work with the Northumberland FA has achieved major improvements to the grass roots across the county.
“We have done this with investment made by our funding partners, the Premier League, The FA and government via Sport England.”
“The foundation will continue to work towards rebuilding facilities at the community level, enabling many more local people to gain access to regular football and other sports in their communities and improving the quality of their experience.”